let us consider for a moment, the evolutionary and continuing material/energy/effort that has gone into making this situation manifest -and how that gigantic complex will be regretted as profoundly ignorant waste by some
mankind of tomorrow -ratcheted-up even now this moment thruout the world as 'American free-enterprise, capitalist democracy and the right to make as much money as you can and spend it any way you choose'-
June 25, 2007 Los Angeles Times
Prince charming at the Roosevelt
For fervid fans, it was a fantasy come true: an intimate night with the pop star (for an eye-popping price).
By Ann Powers, Times Staff Writer
THERE are shows, and then there's the pop fantasy realized. Having Prince practically sit in your lap as he takes a guitar solo midway through his debut at the Roosevelt Hotel? As the credit-card commercials say: Priceless.
Eyebrows have been raised over the exorbitant ticket prices for the artist's seven nights of shows, billed as "3121 Live," at the Hollywood hot spot — $3,121.00 for dinner and tickets for two; move the decimal point one space to the
left and you've got a standing-room spot — but once the funk-rock maestro hit the stage Saturday, all questions of money melted away.
The crowd enjoys drinks at the 3121 club in the Roosevelt hotel before Prince's concert.
The 200 beautiful people perched on couches or crowded into the corners of the lush Blossom Room had purchased the right to forget that Prince was there to do his job. Arena shows are often so rote; the chance to see one of the great
arena-level musicians playing in an intimate (and, therefore, casual) setting was as rare as getting a soft seat at Staples Center, and it needed to feel that way.
Prince knows this. Always one of the hardest-working — if most unpredictable — men in show business, he's recently figured out a way to reinvigorate the live experience for himself and his audience.
His trick has been to transform often denigrated gigs — the Vegas run, the hotel engagement — into rare opportunities. He squashed the idea that appearing at a casino is for has-beens with his recent tour de force at the Rio; now, he's
reclaiming a space once reserved for wedding bands and also-rans and making it a private domain where royals play.
On Saturday, he began his set sniffing a flower and ended by triumphantly throwing down the microphone. In between, he performed a few hits ("Kiss," a hard rock version of "U Got the Look") but mostly concentrated on getting his
powerhouse band in the pocket on material that stayed funky even when it simmered down to a slow jam.
Horns come marching in
The show started late, which is Prince's way. Absent the main attraction, a horn section anchored by funk founder Maceo Parker marched in playing "When the Saints Go Marching In." The quartet wound through the room, which had been equipped with leather
couches and coffee tables to hold $400 bottles of Patrón tequila, and the mood suddenly turned from Hollywood fabulous to Crescent City warm and rowdy.
After the horns joined the rest of the band, which included the hard-hitting drummer Cora Dunham and the noted Brazilian keyboardist Renato Neto, Prince finally strode out.
Within moments, he was in the audience. This was a constant: Everyone not anchored to the stage by an instrument got out and pressed the fan flesh. The festive mood broke down audience expectations and kept the excitement high, even
when Prince focused on newer or more obscure material.
Only one awkward moment emerged during Prince's forays into the crowd. He approached the daunting bunch on what could have been dubbed the "hip-hop power couch" — it included Diddy, Death Row Records founder Suge Knight, Erykah Badu and
Nas, among others — and tried to hand the microphone to Nas.
The rapper declined to ad-lib, however, simply muttering, "I love Prince," and handing back the hot potato. Prince then tried to work his charm on Badu; she gave up a half-hearted rhyme about sisterhood, but it fizzled out. About half
of those seated on the couch then abruptly departed (although Nas and Badu both stayed).
Other loose-limbed celebrities made up for that aloofness. Laker-turned-actor Rick Fox danced goofily with his sister; actress Penélope Cruz got one of those front-row hugs. And singer Nikka Costa even joined Prince onstage, belting out
a rather metallic rendition of "Purple Rain."
The stars could let loose because of the house-party atmosphere Prince established by leading his band into the place where grooves and group interaction matter more than delivering sing-along choruses.
Gems among friends
Digging into his song bag and pulling out such gems as the carnal "Shhh" and the proto-electro "Girls and Boys," he was like a host running down to his wine cellar and pulling out that special bottle for good friends.
The house party is, after all, the model for Prince's current live act. After staging several legendary fetes at the West Hollywood manse he once rented, Prince clearly decided that their mood could be translated to more a formal
It's as if this former hit machine, tired of playing the commercial game, has redirected his focus on the informal process of making music with friends — and then decided to let his fans (those with enough green, that is) in on the
One flaw not unlike what might happen at a real house party marred the evening: The sound needed work. Prince's spoken asides were barely decipherable through an echo-prone microphone, and his singing also sometimes got lost. Such kinks
can be worked out, though, and could be expected in a room that's also been used for bar mitzvahs.
The sound got better during the jazzy jam session that the most elite members of Saturday's audience witnessed after Prince's initial 90-minute set.
Moving into the hotel's cordoned-off lobby, audience members perched wearily on different couches as the band unwound with a tasty selection of jazz standards. Solos impressed, but the absence of the night's leader dulled the mood at
Prince finally showed up at nearly 4 a.m., teasing the crowd with a fiery guitar solo and then decamping to the back of the room. Twenty minutes later, he returned, sunglasses affixed on his head, and picked up a five-string bass. The
crowd started to dance.
Perhaps not everyone who'd scored this special ticket expected a dream night that would end with Prince, the great original, leading the crowd in a rousing version of "Brick House" by the Commodores. Isn't that what karaoke nights with
pals are for? But this didn't sound like karaoke.
Seeing Prince rip it up three feet away, and getting to sing along too? Priceless.